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WPGM Recommends: MIST – Diamond In The Dirt (EP Review)

British rapper MIST is one of a number of UK MCs on the cusp of breaking big in 2018. Ever since releasing his debut EP M I S To The T, his career has somewhat skyrocketed and he has cemented his status as one of the big names in the rap sphere of the UK. The Birmingham-born artist is one in his own right, distinguishable with his tone, flow and accent.

Now he, along with a close-knit team, has given the fans, his sophomore EP and first ‘full length’ project, to stick our teeth into, Diamond In The Dirt. Executively produced by long-time collaborator Steel Banglez, this new nine-track EP catches MIST reflecting on a host of topics and has him bringing in a number of big name collaborators including Jessie Ware, Mr Eazi, Not3s and MoStack.

Nine tracks on an EP is extensive and it feels like we’re in store for an album, rather than an EP, but that is counteracted by the fact that it is 24 minutes in length – only one song is technically longer than your standard three-and-a-half-minute radio cut meaning the whole EP is full of club-ready, radio-ready bangers which definitely seems intentional from MIST and his team; adding to his innate desire to make hits.

If there was no better song to psyche you up for project, “Dreams To Reality” does the job. He likens his struggle, and the graft to the place he is now to that of ‘the beautiful game’. It’s rags to riches-esque and it’s the hustler’s attitude that we are all too familiar with MIST.

On It” covers the other side of the ‘hustle’. While it’s always made to seem glamorous, MIST keeps it real, speaking on the grittier side. And having Nines on the track purely echoes that. His menacing tone represents the streets that he comes from and both rappers shine on a Steel Banglez signature beat.

MIST has developed a good working relationship with fellow rapper MoStack and they collaborate more than once on the project, the first of which being “Uber”; bouncy and full of claps and hi-hats. When those two team up, they clearly have a lot of fun; as they go back to back just rapping on a plethora of different things.

Alongside long-time producer & partner in crime Steel Banglez, MIST has cooked up some heat on this record and there was no bigger statement for this than with the leading single “Game Changer“. This one is a salute to his own accomplishments, rising from an underground street figure to a notable name in the UK music industry.

This cut is definitely right up MIST’s alley. Heavy on the bass and the synths but also sprinkled with a simple piano melody on loop, it’s definitely one to add to his repertoire of club bangers.

Wish Me Well” is one of my stand-outs of the EP because of the unlikely pairing of MIST and one Jessie Ware. Pensive once again, MIST reflects on his come-up and the perks of the highs that his new life brings.

Hostile bredrins came, can’t let ’em in/Now my cribs got gates where I live”, he summarises brilliantly the duality of both worlds. Ms. Ware comes boldly in the chorus and her R&B interpolation of “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. on the bridge brings their two worlds together perfectly.

Another product of an unlikely pairing comes in the form of “Display Skills” featuring Afrobeats crooner Mr Eazi and South London’s own Fekky. Both Fekky and MIST are as flamboyant and boastful as ever. Be careful, with their extravagant lifestyle they don’t hold back, and might just take your girl in the process. Mr Eazi, as what comes naturally to him, captures the very heart and soul of the song, causing for a very catchy hook.

This EP is one full of features and they keep on coming with “Fountain” and “Order It In”. Joined by Haile from WSTRN and Not3s respectively, money is the motive. If the deep bass, hi-hats and chorus’ piano chords don’t make “Fountain” pop for you, then Haile’s signature high-pitched patois definitely will.

Success is still on topic for “Order It In” but MIST pairs the narrative with how his mum looked after him and how the pain of her passing away hurts him but has pushed him to achieve what he has. The duality here yet again, between the different aspects of his life, is a central theme to Diamond In The Dirt and if Not3s’ verse shows anything, it is that he is just as hard a worker, trying enjoy the fruits of his labour.

The EP concludes with “Mosh Pit”, a track MIST and MoStack previewed late last year and is the second time they pair up on the project. Famed Grime producer and fellow Birmingham native Swifta Beater does what he does best and provides a high-energy grime track which will, as the name suggests, definitely pop off in the clubs and cause a mosh pit.

All in all, the EP is a reflection of where MIST is at as an artist and a person. Hungrier than ever, Diamond In The Dirt is a reminder of where he’s coming from and where he is pushing himself to get to; not there yet, but the refining is taking place. He is the ‘Diamond in the Dirt’. Purchase MIST’s Diamond In The Dirt EP on iTunes here, and stream it below.

Words by Jay Tijani

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